Once you become eligible for Medicare at age 65, you might discover that the options aren’t as simple as you had imagined.
If you sign up for Original Medicare, you will enroll in both Parts A and B (which serve as hospital insurance and medical insurance). Part A is usually free to most beneficiaries, and Part B charges a premium. You might also wish to add Medicare Part D (for prescription drug coverage). Even still, you will owe copays and deductibles.
Medicare Advantage combines Parts A and B, and often Part D. For some beneficiaries, this feels like a lot to juggle. Some prefer a comprehensive plan that bundles the above services, plus others in many cases, for one monthly premium. In that case you can opt for a Medicare Advantage plan, also called Part C. These plans are packaged and provided by private insurance carriers, and must adhere to Medicare standards.
Many Advantage plans include additional services, such as limited vision or hearing services, dental care, fitness programs and more. Each Advantage plan is quite unique, so it pays to evaluate each plan carefully.
In many cases, you will receive care from a network of providers in your area. You might still be billed for services received outside of your network. So, while Medicare Advantage can be a convenient way to manage expenses, it is not a guarantee that you won’t ever incur out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare Advantage Enrollment is open now. If you do opt for an Advantage plan, the most important thing to remember is that you are subject to a different open enrollment period. While you can also partake in certain aspects of the general Medicare Annual Election Period in the fall, Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage runs between January 1 and March 31 each year.
During this time, you can evaluate your current Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a different one. You can also drop Advantage and go back to Original Medicare if you choose.
If you’re feeling uncertain of your Medicare Advantage plan, and would like to evaluate your other options, give us a call during Open Enrollment. We can help you narrow down your options and select a plan that is right for you.